Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Ruby Tuesday #10 - Special Diwali Edition: "Lakshmi"

Cary, NC - October 2008 (Click to embiggen)

Ruby Tuesday - Are you red-dy? Hosted at

Here in the West, Halloween gets all the attention this time of year, but it's not the only holiday going on in the world. In the Hindu world, it's the time of Diwali, the Festival of Lights. Since it's based on a lunar calendar, Diwali doesn't fall on the same (Gregorian) date every year, but it always falls during the three days of new moon in the Hindu month of Kartika -- roughly the end of October or early November.

Here in the US, celebrations may or may not fall during the actual holiday itself. In my area, the Town of Cary -- which has a high number of immigrants from India -- and a local organization called Hum Sub (Hindi meaning "all of us" or more literally "we all") hold a Diwali festival every year at Koka Booth Amphitheater. This year the celebration was on October 11, and I finally managed to get to it for the first time.

I spent far less money at the Cary event than I thought I might, despite the wide array of chances to do just that. But I did pick up this statue of Lakshmi (ironically, it was actually made in China) at one of the booths in the bazaar. Lakshmi (or Laxmi) figures prominently in Diwali, a fact I didn't know at the time (there's more explanation below). And since red features prominently in her dress, and Diwali falls on a Tuesday this year... it was a natural for this week's Ruby Tuesday!

I sent this post to a good friend from India, Dr. Mona Rahman, for some editorial input. (Read: "making sure I get my facts straight".) She had this to add (or replace) what I'd written:

Diwali is celebrated on the Amavas, which is a night before the new moon night. It is called the moonless night here. The new moon appears a day after that.

Diwali is also the night when it's said Lord Rama, returned to his capital Ayodhya, after his fourteen years exile in the forest and after having rescued Sita from the demon Ravana, from Sri Lanka.

It also marks a celebration for a time, when the farmers have sold off their harvest and made a profit out of it. The worship of Goddess Laxmi is symbolic of that: the profit that comes in, because Laxmi is the goddess of wealth.

Just like Dusherra, which falls twenty days ahead of Diwali, is a time when they worship goddess Durga, Diwali is a day of worship of Laxmi

The interesting part is the gambling part. After worship, almost all people gamble, in the hope of getting maximum Laxmi in the house. They feel that if on this day they win a game of cards, then the whole year will spell prosperity for them. So gambling is considered as a 'good' deed this day and is legalized on the Diwali night. In India it [gambling] is not legal and one can be charged if caught gambling otherwise!

My heartfelt thanks go out to Monaji for her input on this post. No amount of research can replace firsthand knowledge and I'm truly lucky to have someone willing to pass along what she knows. Thanks Monaji!

I love it when a plan comes together.

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maryt/theteach said...

Mojo, Your plan came together perfectly! What a beautiful picture of Lakshmi/Laxmi. I learned so much from your post. There is a great Hindu population here where I live also! Happy Ruby Tuesday! :)

Katy said...

I love the pumpkin butt! It is hilarious.

Ralph said...

We in the USA can be a bit insular, not paying attention to other countries and cultures. I never knew of Laxmi, and it is a treat to learn something new. It is always good to celebrate a good harvest!

I remember signs for Cary on I-40 on my way to/from RDU one trip to SC. It seems a nice area...

Kaylia Metcalfe said...

What a neat idea… and a cool twist on the RT thing… I love flowrs and such but it is nice to see other things.

Carletta said...

Very informative post with a great image!

Heidi Jo the Artist said...

Very interesting! Happy Ruby Tuesday!

Heidi Jo the Artist